The city's coastline stretches from the "Zona Franca" to the district
of Besós. The main attraction in this area is the 212m high hill known
as Montjuic. It was given this name because it was dedicated to Jupiter in Roman
times (Mont Jovis), although some scholars believe the name comes from "Mont
Judaicus" or "Mount of the Jews". The "Layetanos" probably
set up their oldest town, known as "Barkeno", on the summit of this
hill. In Roman times it was a kind of acropolis crowned with a temple, and
in the Middle Ages it had a lighthouse to guide sailors. In the 17C the military
castle, which can still be seen today, was built, and later in the 19C the
large cemetery was located here.
In this century the woods were converted into gardens and sports, fair and
cultural installations were built on the occasion of the 1929 Universal Exhibition.
It is here that the main installations for the 1992 Olympic Games are located.
The Best way of reaching the hill is via the Plaça d ´Espanya,
which, like the main halls in the fair and exhibition area, was constructed
in 1929. The fair and exhibition area, with the Avinguda de Maria Cristina
running down the middle of it, has exhibition halls on both sides. The last
two were built by the Modernist architect, Puig I Cadafalch. Further along
is the 1986 reconstruction of the "Pabellon de Alemania" (German
Pavilion), again built for the 1929 Exhibition. It is the work of Mies Van
der Rohe and is considered to be one of the milestones of 20C architectural
art. The large illuminated fountain was the work of Buigas.
The National Palace, which crowns the fair and exhibition area, contains the
Catalunyan Museum of Art, a museum of the first order due to its collection
of Romanesque works, especially wall painting, as well as a fine selection
of Gothic works. Near here we find the "Poble Españyol" -
an artificial village with buildings, squares and streets that are representative
of the whole of Spain. There are small museums, craftsmen's workshops and shops,
all of great interest to tourists.
The trip around the hill takes us, in order, to the Archaeological Museum,
the Amargós Gardens and the Greek Theatre (which has performances in
the summer), the popular "Font del Gat", the Ethnological Museum,
the Royal Pavilion, the Laribal Gardens, the Great Stadium, the foot of the
Funicular Railway which takes one up to the Castle (the site of the Army Museum),
the amusement Park, Miramar (which is going to be restored as the restaurant
it originally was after being the headquarters of Spanish Television in Catalunya
for many years), and, quite a lot further along, the New Cemetery. Each and
every one of these aforementioned places has its own particular interest and
those who seek fine archaeological works in the Archaeological Museum, beautiful
and varied plants and flowers in the gardens, or perhaps the tombs of famous
people in the Cemetery, to give just a few examples, will no be disappointed.
From the top of Montjuic the other side of the port can be reached by cable-car.
However, we shall continue the itinerary on foot.
The road going down from Montjuic leads to the port. In the square known as
Plaça de la Pau there is a monument to Columbus (a lift takes you up
as far as his feet), and it is here that La Rambla starts. One may visit a
reproduction of the caravel Santa Maria in which Columbus went to America,
as well as the highly interesting Maritime Museum, housed in a Gothic building.
The port installations can be visited in hired boats or by taking a passenger
ferry known as a "golondrina" (swallow). The different sections of
the port, i.e. passenger area, cargo area, yacht harbour, breakwater and the
lighthouse, are all worth a visit. The Passeig del Moll de la Fusta runs parallel
to the Passeig Colom.
In and around the old part of Barcelona there are beautiful squares, such
as the ones of El Duc de Medinaceli or la Mercé, as well as the Church
of La Mercé. The two streets of Mercé and Gignas, next to the
main Post Office, have a lot of popular bars. After the Passeig Colom there
is the short Avinguda d´Isabel II, the Plaça de Palau and the
Avinguda del Marques de l´Argentera. In the upper section of the Plaça
de Palau stands a Gothic building with a Neoclassical appearance. This is "La
Llotja" and it houses the Stock Exchange (inside an amazing Gothic hall),
the Chamber of Commerce and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi, with
a museum that contains works of art from the 18C-20C. In the lower section
of the square we find the arcaded Casas d´en Xifre and inside the most
famous Catalan restaurant of all, "Les Set Portes", founded 150 years
At the end of the Avinguda del Marqués de l ´Argentera (where
the station "Estacion de Francia" is located) is La Ciutadella Park,
so called because it was, for more than two centuries, a military fortress.
It is a lovely park complete with lake, a waterfall, several fountains, many
statues, the fine Zoological Museum "Castel dels Tres Dragons" (designed
as a hotel by the architect Domenech i Montaner), El Invernaculo (Conservatory)
and El Umbraculo (the buildiing of the Catalan Parliament) which also contains
the Museum of Modern Art. There are works of local interest as well as some
of universal fame, eg. Fortuny, Nonell, etc. The park also contains the Zoo
which is a "must" for all children (and adults for that matter) who
are interested in animal life. The high point must surely be to see the white
gorilla known as "Copito de Nieve" (Snowflake).
The Passeig Nacional starts in the Plaça de Palau and stretches out
towards the sea. Here, on the right-hand side, are the dock warehouses and
the fishing cooperative where fish is auctioned, and on the left-hand side
is the district of La Barceloneta. This district was built on the mud flats
in the middle of the 18C as a fishermen's quarter, and it maintains its original
flavour even today. There are restaurants both in the centre as well as the
side of the beach, all specialising in fish dishes, along with typical popular
snack bars. At the end of the Passeig Nacional there is an interesting Aquarium,
and a variety of facilities for public bathing. The Promenade which follows
provides fine views across the beach and out to sea. Many people from all over
Barcelona come here to bathe in the summer months. Further along is the manufacturing
district of Poble Nou, with its beautiful fishing quarter and fishing boats
lying on the beach, as well as a very popular and typical Rambla.
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what tours we have available here!
Tours - Gourmet wine tours in Spain and Portugal. Includes tours of Penedes
and Tarragona in Catalonia